Efforts to revitalize the historic Miami Marine Stadium on Virginia Key are being met with great success.
Miami city leaders believe a financing plan to fund the multimillion-dollar project should be finalized by spring.
The stadium, which was built in 1963, played host to legendary concerts by artists including Jimmy Buffet and other entertainment shows, such as boat racing, that gave fans a waterside front-row seat.
However, after Hurricane Andrew in 1992, city officials shut the venue down as they pondered whether to have it demolished. The stadium has remained vacant for the nearly two decades that followed.
Graffiti artists have tagged much of the facility, turning it from an architectural marvel to what some people believe is an eyesore.
"It's sat here and it's been subjected to vandalism," said Don Worth, founder of the Friends of Miami Marine Stadium group.
Worth and several other city residents have been pushing for the rebirth of the stadium, which has been designated a historic landmark because of its unique concrete ceiling. The venue is also the only waterfront stadium of its kind in the world.
"This place is magic. It?s a complicated project, but we feel really great. We?ve never had better momentum."
Miami city coffers cannot afford the $20 million to $30 million price tag to restore the stadium, so city leaders have been working out other solutions to help bring the venue back to life.
"We are looking into tax credits," said Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado. "We already have $3 million in bond money from the county. We have pledges from private foundations."
Regalado said the money would be used to purchase 6,000 seats, a lighting and sound stage system as well as new railings, plumbing and electrical work.
"They found structurally, it?s sound," Regalado said.
The plans for the future of Miami Marine Stadium can only happen in a public-private partnership, which means a private company would be sought to maintain the aging facility and book appropriate acts and shows. The stadium is unique because all of the seats face the water and any entertainment must happen either on the water or on a floating barge.
Worth said that more than two dozen promoters are lined up to take advantage of the venue after it has been refurbished. Soccer games, an NBA exhibition game, boat races and fireworks shows are all ideas that have been tossed around.
"We feel confident that we will get it done," Worth said.